Kiss of the Spider Woman: Chapter Notes - Chapter 5




·         The majority of this chapter is told from Molina’s point of view, and Valentin has a very minimal role, even less than the previous chapters. This chapter might be the first one to shift to a new structure.

·         Molina has become sick from the prison food, so to distract himself he tells himself a romantic film he has seen while Valentin studies his philosophy book.

·         Molina and Valentin argue about a statement in is book: “honest men can not deal with political power because their responsibility prevents them to.”

·         This argument changes Molina’s mind set, and his steam of consciousness branches off to other aspects of his life and we learn more about: Molina’s thoughts of the prison cell and the current situation he is in; Molina’s mother and his relationship with her; Gabriel (the man he likes)

·         The chapter finishes with Molina showing a cold attitude to Valentin.



Themes and Motifs:


·         The story which Molina describes starts with the single word ‘forest’ which is clearly the middle of the description of the scenery; this is another example of Puig allowing the reader to fill in the gaps in whichever way they want.

·         Molina is constantly shown asking questions to himself in the first half of his film; This is a similar point as above, however, this time the narrator is the one who asks the questions rather than the reader. This is another idea which has been shown several times in the novel.


Constructed nature of stories and realities

Links between the film and Molina’s life:

·         “It feels so bad when they give you a black look…mom never gave me the black look…” (page 105) – this shows how Molina constantly uses the actions in the film and drifts into thoughts of his own life.

·         “Lips approaching lips, first moist kiss…does he remember me?” – Similarly, the romantic segment of the film eventually drifts to Molina remembering Gabriel in his own life.



·         Molina is nice to Valentin when they talk to each other; however, Molina has very different opinions about him. This is very clear as Molina refers to Valentin as a ‘son of a bitch’ and he criticizes him by asking himself ‘how does he know of feelings’

·         This idea is also shown in connection with chapter 4. Valentin asks Molina what happened in the Wardens office in chapter 4 (page 82), but Molina replies with “nothing, just sign some papers with the new lawyer.” However, in chapter 5, we learn that really, he was likely to have a ‘pardon’ and a ‘reduction of [his] sentence.’ This clearly shows that Molina may only be a good friend to Valentin on the surface; however, he really does not care for him too much.

·         ‘I’d Kill that son of a bitch’ – Shows Molina’s true attitude toward s Valentin, although it can be argued that this was said because of the rage that his train of thought brought.

·         ‘Will the warden keep his promise? Is it true what he promised’ – adds to the idea of hypocrisy as Molina is hiding the truth from Valentin, and it also shows Molina is worried about what is future lies in store for him.

·         ‘And that’s true…/To me its just the opposite…’ – shows that Molina and Valentin may be friends and may seem to understand each other, however they share very different views about things which are important to either one of them. This is also shown in previous chapters where Valentin and Molina do not agree about a point brought up regarding the film which Molina is recounting.



·         Molina has no power over Valentin – Valentin tells Molina to ‘shut up’ and all Molina can reply to that is ‘just you see, I’ll tell you a thing or two’. This shows that Valentin is almost like a bully to Molina, as Molina can’t do anything to retaliate. This is backed up by the fact that Molina only shows his true feelings in his thoughts.





·         Powerless - ‘sometime I’ll tell you a thing or two’ – he can not do anything, it just an empty threat

·         Romantic – Loves the waiter extremely and tells Valentin that he is ‘depressed’, however he does not give a reason, however, the audience does know that it is because Gabriel has not come to visit. This idea that Molina hides the truth once again shows the theme of hypocrisy.

·         He bottles up his rage – ‘If he dared say one word about her I’d kill the son of a bitch’ shows that he is hiding a lot from Valentin because he is scared he might do something rash if he is provoked by Valentin’s jokes

·         Fantasizes a lot- ‘How his [Gabriel’s] saliva would taste’ this shows that he truly wants what he can not get when it comes to men, so he will settle for fantasizing.

·         He does not like to be teased about how soft he is – ‘so he cant laugh anymore about how soft I am’ clearly shows that he does not like being teased.



·         He does not like it when Molina says something to counter his point – ‘you don’t like my saying the truth’ this shows that he does not like the counter arguments, possibly because he loses control over his power, and possibly because he likes to be right.

·         Dutiful – he continues to reads about his ideologies and gain an extensive knowledge about politics. ‘Its time to do some studying – I have to keep up with my reading schedule’ this clearly shows he believes that he can be of benefit to the Political revolutions, and he can not fall into the propaganda from Molina’s movies, and the jail.

·         In power against Molina – ‘you can tell me another one’ shows he is commanding Molina, and although Molina tries to argue back, Valentin always gets his way.




Molina and Valentin

·         Their relationship is very close and almost brotherly on the surface, however, we learn more about what Molina truly feels about Valentin calling him a ‘son of a bitch’.

·         Molina hides things from Valentin because he thinks that he will ‘make jokes about how soft [he is]’, this shows how much of a gap there really is in their relationship.


Molina and his mother

·         Very close to his mother and he feels as though he is to blame for his mum’s ill health and the fact that he has gone to jail has put shame into his mother. He is constantly worried about his mother and asks himself ‘is she alright?’


The ugly maid and the handsome soldier

·         Molina relates to the ugly maid because she is in love with a man who was a lot more beautiful than she was, same way, Molina loves Gabriel who is described as a lot more handsome than he might be.

·         He is like an outcast in society the same way as the ugly maid feels as though she is an outsider because of her lower class.




The setting of the film Molina describes is very different to the setting of the prison cell. It is another example of Molina using an unreal world to escape into, to get away from the prison cell, and perhaps Valentin’s constant command over him as he may have gotten fed up of him and his possibly crazy beliefs.



Narrative style:

Puig uses Molina’s thoughts and feelings as a tool to tell the film. It is in first person narrative while Molina is in thought, however, while Molina and Valentin talk to each other; there is an indirect amount of third person narration (the layout is like a script)